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What would you like to see in a Gifted and Talented Music Programme Ages 5-9?

(25 Posts)
thirtypence Sat 12-Sep-09 06:04:32

I have been asked to run a G&T programme for 5 weeks (80 minutes per week) for the Junior School (what you would call infants I think) at ds's school.

Now my big thing is inclusion and I am used to running music classes that take in all experiences and talents and working with what I have. Or I work one on one with talented children as their instrumental music teacher.

So I have a small group who all play instruments at a level which you wouldn't expect from a child that age (though no Mozarts). The school is expecting some kind of presentation or performance at the end of the programme.

As a parent of these children what would you want for them? They are mostly too young to be in the school orchestra - so I could do some group mini orchestra type stuff, or would you be thinking that it should be more creative - like composing a piece together (or individually), or exploring an area of music or a composer. Or does it all sound good and you would leave it to me. I want to do something in depth - because they get lots of top level stuff in their existing music lessons.

Please don't post to tell me that if I don't know what I am doing I shouldn't be teaching them. I suffer from too many ideas rather than too few - and would like to do something that parents would see as worthwhile for the 5 weeks I am there.

DadAtLarge Sat 12-Sep-09 15:40:57

thirtypence, I think it's excellent that you're asking for opinions!

I'm a bit tied up just now but I'll come back to this thread in a day or two with some thoughts.

thirtypence Sat 12-Sep-09 23:46:52

Thanks DadAtLarge.

JustAnotherMNer Sat 12-Sep-09 23:55:32

I would ask them each to compose a short piece for their own instrument, showing as many things as possible (traditonal or otherwise) that their instrument could do.

For the presentation, each child would talk about their instrument and what is difficult/easy about learning it, describe the piece they have written, then perform it, then answer any questions about it

I wouldn't do a group composition as most school composing I've seen is already done in groups, and children don't get as much opportunity to write something on their own.

Hope this helps

JustAnotherMNer Sat 12-Sep-09 23:56:10

traditional, not traditonal (is that a new type of musical scale??)

PrettyCandles Sun 13-Sep-09 00:06:02

I like the idea of individual compositions. Not necessarily focusing just on the instrument, perhaps presenting music as communication. Different children may relate to their music differently. One may be thrilled by rhythm, another by mood, another by the technicalities, and each could focus on their particular interest in their composition.

Alternatively each child could focus on a style of music from a different culture or era.

Or you could have a theme tune, and try to get each child to develop upon it to demonstrate the variaty of interpretation. Though I wonder whether that might be too challenging at this age, and therefore limit them.

It sounds an exciting project. My ds1 has just gone from picking out on the piano tunes he knows, to composing new tunes. It feels like I am listening to what's going on in his head - and it's beautiful smile.

thirtypence Sun 13-Sep-09 01:07:03

It looks like individual compositions have the vote so far, I may get them to write a pentatonic piece of a certain length and time signature first so they can all play them together and it will sound good.

Then I could get them to explore non traditional sounds that their instruments can make and have a rousing performance of Old McDonald had a farm/zoo with their contributions.

In week 2 we could look at notation, and they could look at how pieces for their instruments are written - scores, clefs, time and key signatures etc. They could set out an outline for their pieces.

The following weeks could be helping them to complete and publish their pieces and describe what sort of piano accompaniment they would like(they may be a little young for Sibelius, but they can write them on big stave paper) and rehearse them and their little speeches about their inspiration for the piece.

Then they all have something to put on the wall, take home and show their music teachers - along with an Opus 1 to be brought out at their 21st birthday.

cory Sun 13-Sep-09 16:43:03

another vote for indidual compositions

marialuisa Sun 13-Sep-09 20:29:25

I wouldn't entirely dismiss the mini-orchestra idea. DD has got a lot from orchestras and ensembles since she started playing in them at 6.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sun 13-Sep-09 20:42:14

and fun.

thedolly Sun 13-Sep-09 20:52:56

They might be a bit young for composition. You might be able to do an arrangement of a tune that they know. I did this with DD and she played the piece for her Prep test . She put her own chords to the basic tune and then 'recorded' the piece using some music software and printed out the music for the examiner.

Perhaps a video (dare I say 'Disney') for inspiration if you are going for composition - DD is 8 and she would love that. She plays both violin and piano very well but as you would expect, her reading is not of the same standard.

Good luck with it all, I am sure it will be fabulous - let us know how you get on smile.

Katisha Sun 13-Sep-09 20:57:52

My feelin is to stay away from theory and notation as it could end up a bit dry. (unless you know ways of making it non-dry in which case I take my hat off to you!)

What instruments do you have? If keyboards/glocks etc then I know this is a bit of a standard lesson, but what about a twelve-bar blues session based on E flat and black notes, then they can all play a basic riff and then take turns to do a solo improv slot?

Effjay Sun 13-Sep-09 21:07:52

Be inclusive! Why don't you do a concert with them showcasing all their talents - demonstrate that they can sing as a choir, they could do a percussion orchestra piece and they could do a piece of music that involves them all as instrumentalists. Show that music is fun because it can be performed in so many ways. Get the audience going, with a piece of music that involves some audience participation!

thirtypence Sun 13-Sep-09 21:12:50

I will certainly consider an arrangement instead of a composition if I have a piano student in the group, just to even up the challenge with the other instruments. Most of them will be string players I think.

The ones who do read music do so effortlessly (it is a gifted group after all) the others have been trained using Suzuki and so their reading is almost non existent because of their age.

thedolly Sun 13-Sep-09 21:45:56

The Suzuki children may benefit from a bit of reading smile.

thirtypence Sun 13-Sep-09 21:57:33

All the children in the group who read music had the basics explained to them and went on to learn to read music within the week. They don't use FACE etc. they just know the notes. They quickly memorise their piece and then practise it until it is fluid.

With a gifted child I am struggling to see the point of Suzuki, but hopefully someone will help me out.

thedolly Sun 13-Sep-09 22:14:56

Suzuki is fabulous for huge play togethers. Also, as I am sure you know, there is a huge emphasis on technique. I would have thought that in order for a gifted child to reach their potential this could only be a good thing. However, it (Suzuki) is very prescriptive and the kind of thing you are proposing should be the perfect compliment.

MrsWeasley Sun 13-Sep-09 22:21:31

Perhaps you could have a piece where each person gets a solo part.

I recently saw a school group where they all composed something based on a theme (spooky night) and with the help of the music teachers they but it together as 1 piece. It was fantastic.

thirtypence Mon 14-Sep-09 10:13:45

I've found a Christmas piece with an improvising section. I think the trick is to get them all creating and then notating!

senua Tue 15-Sep-09 11:34:42

Just a thought.
The NC can sometimes be a bit of a straitjacket for brighter kids. How about asking (the older) kids what they would like to see in the lessons? Give them a chance to take ownership and direction of their own learning for a change.

Acanthus Tue 15-Sep-09 11:38:54

I would want to see them playing together and then performing in front of an audience - as so much of what they do at this age is solitary. I think they'd get a real buzz out of it.

senua Tue 15-Sep-09 11:50:28

Another thought.
Have you had any instructions about the non-musical side of this? Are these miniMozarts lovely kids who will come together to make an orchestra or are they all prima donna who cannot subsume themselves to a group situation?
Teaching them to co-operate might be your biggest achievement!grin

Also, can you take them outside their comfort zone (the instrument that they already know) and make them try another instrument, hopefully with not-very-good results. Learning to experiment and possibly fail is very important.

thirtypence Tue 15-Sep-09 19:59:04

The NZ curriculum for music is quite lovely and flexible and holistic and they all already have a specialist and fantastic music teacher once a week. They also do a lot of performing and I also have just started a junior chamber group which has a flexible seating plan where they all get a turn. They are all in the choir.

Ds has already given me a list of thing he wants covered!

thirtypence Thu 17-Sep-09 00:58:26

Thanks all - I have submitted my plan and learning intentions to the school and they are happy. The plan is very empty from week 3 as it becomes more student led - and therefore without a crystal ball I can't write much.

They have been promised a lovely performance in week 6 though - so I guess they can tell we won't be contemplating our navels for the last half.

Tinfoil Thu 17-Sep-09 19:02:20

It would be great to hear how it goes thirtypence.

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